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Should junior hockey players get paid more?

Aug 22, 2012, 3:20 PM EDT

We haven’t given much serious attention to the fledgling Canadian Hockey League Players’ Association and its attempts to unionize major junior hockey.

Frankly, it all just seems a little flaky to us. And with all due respect, the fact Georges Laraque has been named executive director does little to alleviate our pessimism.

Doesn’t really strike you as the next Donald Fehr.

There’s also this tidbit from Yahoo! Sports, which spoke to an unnamed player that was contacted about joining the union.

“I was given a hazy call last week about joining the CHLPA,” said the player, who did not want his name used. “(They) then followed up with an unprofessional email with no credentials.”

He didn’t bother to follow up.

Not sure how unprofessional an email has to be in order for a junior hockey player to deem it unprofessional, but if we had to guess, we’d say pretty unprofessional. (“Do u want 2 join a union? Shd be sweet!!!!”)

All that said, it does raise an interesting question: Should junior hockey players be paid more than the paltry weekly stipend they currently receive? Because it’s not like they’re playing in front of friends and family. These are multimillion-dollar operations. A lot of teams in the CHL outdraw those in the AHL.

(Yes, CHL players can earn money that goes towards furthering their education once their junior careers are over, but as Sportsnet’s Mark Spector points out, that money disappears if not used fairly soon after it becomes available.)

Of course, a similar debate has been raging in the NCAA for years, though over a lot more money. How much money? Well, last May, the Pac-12 signed a $2.7 billion TV contract with ESPN and FOX.

But if you’re an NCAA player — pardon me, “student athlete” — just be careful you don’t accept any free tattoos.

  1. bojangles83 - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    They are not pro’s….pay their living expenses and provide them an education

    • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      Education? This isn’t the NCAA, CHL teams don’t have university’s and colleges at every location. And who is to say everyone wants education. And yes they are pro’s, how about your employer tells you instead of a check you’re getting that money put into your education.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 22, 2012 at 5:58 PM

        That’s not really how it is. This is more there education. They learn how to be a pro, and when they graduate they get a huge paycheck if they go pro. Most of the rest of us have to pay to go to school, and spend the first couple of years paying that off once we go pro. I think they have it fine. Besides a huge amout of the money made goes back into Canadian hockey and helps out other up and comming players. We have to quit treating these hockey players like gods. They already make more than enough when they go pro, and now they want to be paid well before they even go pro? When is it going to end?

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:04 PM

        Most don’t go beyond the CHL, so that “huge paycheck” is barely worth talking about. And if you want to go to school you have to pay for it. I’d sooner take the extra cash and decide if I want to invest in school later. You talk like there is a pot of gold waiting for everyone. There isn’t ok? Your points are naive. 90% of the players careers are over 2 years after their experience in the CHL.

        – Played 3 years in the Q for Halifax

      • sunderlanding - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:27 PM

        So? Most of us who go to school have to pay the whole thing, and there is an even smaller chance of us getting a big paycheck. We’ll have to spend the first ten years of our working lives paying off the education we took while the owners of the companys we work for make millions. Why are the hockey players more important than the rest of us? At least they have a chance at a big contract. If it’s such a bad deal for them let them go to school for engineering and get a real job. They’re supposed to play because they love it, and if they excel they’ll get rewarded later.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:02 PM

        You don’t think we were paying for school? It’s being taken out of our pockets without choice as some sort of compensation for playing professional hockey. You at least have the choice. You didn’t get a job at 18 years old and then tell you “you will not get paid, we’re allowing you to go to school in lieu of that check”

        You think CHL’ers are what? Making a lot of money, during and after? We’re talking about teenagers who give up massive chunks of their time.

        When you were 18-19 years old what were you doing? If you played in the CHL you didn’t get to go out and do the part time job thing to put money in your pocket. Did you work in your teens? How did you get spending money to do the things teens want to do?

        They hamper the ability to make money and compensate little for it. Again, were talking about paying these kids more than 50 bucks BI WEEKLY.

        Talking about 16-19 year olds here, NOT college students

      • sunderlanding - Aug 22, 2012 at 10:47 PM

        Playing in the CHL is the college education equivelent of hockey. Once you reach 18 you should be going pro if you’re good enough. This is a choice the CHL players make. They must know that not every player is going to go pro, but they do it because they love it. That’s enough, and if they’re exception they’ll get rewarded later. If not they have to find another path, but they should know by 18. I don’t understand why they should be compensated for that. Are we going to start funding all the musicians who worked their asses off thier whole lives only to find out they couldn’t make it? Same goes for the artists? Or what about law students who just weren’t smart enough to pass the bar? The list goes on. So a lot of these guys won’t go pro. Tough luck. That’s life.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:06 PM

        800 bucks for 8 months of work and travel.
        100 bucks a month for those without a calculator…

        Kids who have time to mow laws do better.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:23 PM

        Most kids don’t get anything to go to school. Minor hockey is the college equivelent for hockey players. That’s where they learn to be a pro. Just like kids at college.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:09 AM

        The college aged players in the OHL are overagers for the most part. Again, you do know were talking about high schoolers right?

        You think that 16-19 year olds should be going to high school while travelling and practising to make owners of OHL clubs a nice profit. Not having time for a real part time job.

        For $25 bucks a week….
        Again, they can keep their “school money” and just pay them more than the $25 bucks a week.

        $25 a week covers GAS back and forth to the rink.

        Stop just stop
        $25 a week is “mom/dad can I have some money to go to the movies” tantamount to an allowance.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:13 AM

        Don’t be afraid to read. The OHL, CHL is their education. That’s the risk they take. They want to go pro, so they play in those leagues to see if they can make it. That is their equivalent of college. Most people have to pay for their college. A LOT. If they make it it was all worth it. If they don’t they’re 19 and have to come up with a new plan. Big deal. Most of the rest of us are constantly comming up with new plans to try to make a living, and no one is saying we should get paid while we see if we have what it takes. So why should they get paid while they see if they’re good enough? It’s like paying kids to go to college to see if they can get a degree.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:27 AM

        The OHL is their education? what are you on?

        It’s simple, it’s a job, more is asked of them it 16-18 years than you were ever asked of at that age. They get 3000 people paying 10 bucks a ticket to see them play each game of the year at least.
        I don’t care what the job is, you are in the workforce making someone money and compensation for the profits being made is worth more than $25 bucks a week for 8 months.

        You think that all these kids think that this is their pro chance? A third of CHL players are just thinking about trying to keep their spot on the team for those 2-3 years and praying they can make the team as an overager. There is no NHL dream, no AHL dream for that matter for a good many of players.

        Good luck asking many people to provide a service that requires a large amount of talent, time and effort for $25 a week. But because they are teenagers they should make others money and settle from crumbs?

      • sunderlanding - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:35 AM

        Are you crazy? Look at the art and entertainment industry? Do you have any idea how much money they make on idealistic kids? Kids who take hours of private lessons. Kids who go to private art schools in the hopes of becomming the next big thing. Kids who are spending tens of thousands every year to try to make it. Those institutions are making millions on these kids, and they give nothing back. At least some of that money goes back into hockey Canada. So you’re saying the entertainment industry should start paying these kids to go to school to try to make it? It’s the same as paying kids to play junior hockey.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:46 AM

        Again, more yammerings
        You’re talking about school teaching a skills, refining skill and profiting
        vs
        Taking that skill into the business world, which the CHL is….
        NOT A SCHOOL IN ANY SENSE OR CRAZY REALITY

        Let me know when the artist or lawyer might lose the ability to continue due to an injury in their chosen profession.

        Stop writing, this is a joke with your clueless and nonsensical comparisons.

        Kids working the movie theatre handing out popcorn should definitely make more money than the kids playing in the CHL. Gotcha

        Moving on from the ignorance spewed here tonight

      • sunderlanding - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:55 AM

        You play in the CHL to learn your craft better right? You play there to learn to play at the highest level? You play there to learn to play with the best players? Just like at a school. It doesn’t matter what they call it the fact remains they make a lot of money on people trying to make it. The same as the private art schools.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:48 AM

        And when I say more money handing out popcorn, 500% more money a week.

        So you own a CHL team? Or a few sweat shops in the far east?
        Nevermind I don’t care enough to know

      • sunderlanding - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:56 AM

        You play junior hockey for free. That’s more than you get trying to make it at a fancy art school. So if junior hockey is a sweat shop I guess art school is a slave market. At least they get paid something.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:34 AM

        You could have been working a nice lil part time job at ages 16-18 for those 8 months a year while going to high school making what? 9 buck an hour for 20 hours a week? Taking home 140 a week…560 a month….a have saved yourself 4 grand or so each year to go to school?

        Not an option for most kids playing in the OHL. They don’t have the time for school, work and the league. Plus you have a group of kids who have no intention of post secondary education. They are finishing high school and going into a trade or flaking out for a year or two. Yet the value they bring to an OHL owner is being “put into an education” some may or may not want.

        I can easily say that you could just work that part time job while in high school and come up with much more money to go towards school than the OHL is forcing kids to take as compensation.

        And then what is the value of the 15 other kids on OHL teams that are making these owners their profits?

        You don’t honestly think it’s close to a mere $25 a week?

      • sunderlanding - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:29 AM

        Most people have to pay to see if they have what it takes. Doctors, lawers, artists ect. spend a lot of money to see if they have what it takes, and a lot of them don’t go pro either. Should we pay them while they see if they have what it takes? These kids get a free audition and a little money on the side. If they don’t make it they’re 19 with no debt. Big deal. Say you go to an art school. It has to be a private one because the public ones suck and everyone in the field knows that. So you’re spending the big bucks. At least $10,000 a year. Then you graduate and find out you don’t have what it takes to make it in the field. Now you’re 24 with a huge debt and have to find a plan B. Those private schools make huge money on these kids. So should they pay the kids while they’re at school? It’s the same as paying the junior players.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:39 AM

        Pay to see if they have what it takes?
        Ok, you are yammering buffoonery at me now. They are providing real cash flow for a real business.

        Let me know when those Artists are forced to give away their paintings for peanuts and Lawyers are providing their wares in a courtroom making their group money in the real world.

        This isn’t school, this is a business.
        A business where you can get seriously injured, where as a teenager you’re travelling all over the place.

        But this is completely wasted on you, keep thinking that those poor owners can’t afford more than $800 bucks per kid for 8 months of work, and those kids are not deserving of more.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:52 AM

        I’ve got news for you. Private schools are a business as well. Hence the word “private”. Those institutions are generating millions a year and giving nothing back. All they do is take. Furthermore if the kid does make it, their first contract will make sure they get none of that money, so essentially they are giving their panting, or song or whatever you want away for nothing in the hopes that they can sustain that kind of attention and eventually have some push when they get a new contract. Kind of like…wait a seceond…it’s kind of like a junior hockey player. The difference when the junior player realizes he can’t make it he’s 19 and debt free. The artist is in his mid to late 20’s (at least most of them hold out till 30) and will be in debt for the rest of their lives. Now who has the better deal? I guess we’ll start that lobby to get private schools to pay their students. Let me know where and when.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:20 PM

        Guys who hit that huge paycheck at some point

        Alex Tanguay
        JS Giguere
        Jody Shelley

        And to a lesser extent Marc Chouinard buddy of mine Gordy Dwyer who is a NHL linesman

        The rest of that team back then never went far beyond the Q. I’m not saying that guys today should be paid for like a nice full time job. But they certainly can be paid as if it was a part time job.
        In the end we were going back and forth to the rink for games and practices, travelling for chunks at a time and it’s near impossible to find that part time job who fits your crazy schedule. And doing it for peanuts.

    • DTF31 - Aug 22, 2012 at 6:47 PM

      A bit more than 50 bucks a week couldn’t hurt either. In two weeks they can afford a tank of gas, a Big Mac and some Copenhagen.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:11 PM

        50 every 2 weeks

  2. DTF31 - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    The education package they receive has so many strings attached to it that these kids basically get screwed out of it if hey have any desire of playing pro

    • sunderlanding - Aug 22, 2012 at 5:59 PM

      So they have to settle to get paid to play the game they love. I really feel sorry for them.

      • DTF31 - Aug 22, 2012 at 6:44 PM

        The number of them that actually go pro is very insignificant. These guys for-go scholarships in the US and part of that is “we’ll pay your school after you’ve finished help making the owner rich” . The education package is garbage. Its not available if they try and play in any other league after their done in Junior and the CHL only provides 3500 dollars in tuition per year. The average tuition in Canada is around 6000 dollars a year. So they get a semester and 2 books with the “education package” the CHL thinks COVERS their schooling. Most schools with a teir 3 sports program are 5000+ a year. These guys get to go to community college and get a degree in “general education” with what they’re provided.

        Its not about treating them like gods. Its about giving them what they’re lead to believe they will get, until they don’t. But they signed their name over when they were 15 years old, excited and stupid so apparently tough luck.

        And not nearly as much goes back into the system. Most of it goes into the owners and various executives pockets with a pittance making into local minor hockey associations.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:24 PM

        Millions goes back into the system, and it’s a lot more than is going back into the system from any other education system. For whatever reason the sports owners are the evil ones. Most of us don’t get any coverage to go to school, so why should they get any? If your whole argument is the owners are getting rich then we should be doing the same for all the minning, forestry and marketing companys that sign kids out of college and pay them peanuts while they make millions. At least these kids have a chance to make big bucks. They get a better deal than most of us.

  3. murraychadwick - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    CHL players don’t want a union becuase then all the under the table cash payments will be gone.

    • desertfan - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Dumb comment!!

  4. icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    For how much money is made of off them, yes. You don’t play in the CHL if you are looking to get an education. That’s the reality. Now if you play down here in the States, education comes into play.

  5. ray2013 - Aug 23, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    So what I’ve taken from this:

    $10 a ticket x 3000 fans= $30,000 for one game.

    $800 per season x 25 players = $20,000 for the season.

    On the positive side of the ledger, teams presumably would make money from merchandise sales. Some would might make money from parking, fans purchasing meals.

    As expenses, teams would have to pay a GM, coaches, trainers and travel (bussing, meals, hotels).

    Without knowing the exact figures, it still seems like teams could afford to pay players more than $100 a month. The trick would be figuring out what every team in the CHL could afford, because some teams would probably make more money than others, and no owners would agree to a situation where they’d lose money. Would the owners open the books to the CHL players to find out a fair increase? Probably not, especially with the lack of a union. But it is worth looking into.

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